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Apprenticeship

Machinist

Machinists set up and operate precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders to make and repair products made from metals, non-ferrous materials (materials that do not contain iron) and new alloys.

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Machinists (7231.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Machinists and Machining and Tooling Inspectors (H311) 
  • 2011 NOC: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (7231) 
  • 2016 NOC: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors (7231) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Machinists

2006 NOC: 7231.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
OBJECTIVE

Interest in setting up and programming machine tools for use by machining tool operators when required

INNOVATIVE

Interest in performing precision machining operations such as sawing, turning, milling, boring, planing, drilling, precision grinding and other operations, and in planning best sequence of operations

METHODICAL

Interest in compiling information to verify dimensions of products for accuracy and conformance to specifications using precision measuring instruments

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Machinists work according to very precise specifications. When there are no prints or other specifications, they determine dimensions by logic or by measuring samples using instruments such as micrometers and vernier calipers. Measuring instruments or machine tools can be controlled electronically and may require skills in programming and operating.

To perform a typical machining task, machinists:

  • Study specifications, charts, drawings or sample parts to determine the machining operation to be performed
  • Calculate dimensions and tolerances, and prepare working sketches if necessary
  • Measure and mark metal and other materials
  • Set up and operate tools, which may be computer numerically controlled, to perform precision machining operations
  • Fit parts to mechanisms and verify dimensions

Machinists need to have an understanding of the effects of heat treatment on metals and be skilled in heat treatment processes.

In job shops, machinists make a variety of replacement parts for different types of machinery or industrial equipment. These can range from small medical devices to heavy industrial equipment.

In production shops, machinists typically manufacture parts using automated equipment called Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines. CNC machining, along with other machine tools, are commonly utilized for manufacturing parts in high numbers in mass production facilities.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Strength Required Lift over 20 kg

Shops often have a higher than normal noise level and can be dusty. The use of petroleum products and chemicals is common practice, so some cleaning of oily equipment is required.

Machinists often stand for long periods and may at times be rushed to complete a job. They work a 37.5- to 40-hour week, usually five weekdays, but may be required to work overtime in emergencies. Night or evening shifts are common in some shops.

Machinist work on CNC machines or sometimes on older, conventional machines. They may be required to lift and move heavy items. There is risk of injury when working with high-speed machinery and sharp metals and tools.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Machinists need:

  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • The ability to use their hands skillfully and quickly
  • The ability to estimate and measure sizes and distances accurately
  • The ability to work alone at tasks that require concentration as well as physical effort

They should enjoy doing creative work with machinery that requires a high degree of skill and precision.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors

2011 NOC: 7231

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 98 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between May 11, 2022 and Sep 24, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Tasks: Read and interpret engineering drawings, blueprints, charts and tables
Health benefits: Health care plan
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Milling machines
Attention to detail
Measuring Tools: Callipers
Health benefits: Dental plan
Tasks: Verify dimensions of parts machined using precise measuring instruments (e.g., micrometers, calipers)
Measuring Tools: Verniers
Measuring Tools: Micrometers
Equipment and Machinery Experience: Computer numerical control (CNC) machines
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Minimum Education Apprenticeship

To work in Alberta, a machinist must be ONE of the following:

  • A registered apprentice
  • An Alberta-certified journeyperson
  • Someone who holds a recognized related trade certificate
  • Someone who works for an employer who is satisfied that the worker has the skills and knowledge expected of certified journeyperson
  • Self-employed

To register with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training, apprentices must find a suitable employer who is willing to hire and train them. They must also meet ONE of the following:

  • Have an Alberta high school transcript with at least English Language Arts 10-2, Math 10-3, and Science 10, or equivalent
  • Have a pass mark in all 5 Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests

Most employers prefer to hire high school graduates. Basic computer knowledge is required.

The term of apprenticeship is 4 years (four 12-month periods) that include a minimum of 1,560 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of classroom instruction each year. High school students can earn credits toward apprenticeship training and a high school diploma at the same time through the Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP).

Applicants who have related training or work experience may be eligible for admission, credit, or certification. Credits may reduce the period of apprenticeship.

Machinist apprentices may take the interprovincial exam in the final period of their apprenticeship training to earn a Red Seal (certification recognized in most parts of Canada).

Classroom instruction is arranged by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. For more information, see the Apprenticeship Training Catalogue.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2020
  • Certification Provincially Regulated

Machinist

Machinists set up and operate precision metal cutting and grinding machines such as lathes, milling machines, drills and grinders to make and repair products made from metals, non-ferrous materials (materials that do not contain iron) and new alloys. For more information, see the Designated Trades Profile section of Alberta’s Tradesecrets website.

Legislation

Under Alberta’s Skilled Trades and Apprenticeship Education Act [pdf], you do not have to be certified if you are self-employed or work for an employer who is satisfied that you have the skills and knowledge expected of a journeyperson certified by Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training. To learn the trade, you must become a registered apprentice.

For information on what you need and other details, visit the certification profile Machinist.

Additional Information

Certified tradespeople who want to build their business skills may obtain an Achievement in Business Competencies (Blue Seal) Certificate from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Machinists are employed by companies that manufacture or repair equipment, such as large government organizations or repair and maintenance firms. They may work in either job shops or production shops.

Experienced machinists may advance to positions such as inspector, foreman, superintendent or CNC programmer. Some machinists start businesses of their own.

Machinists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 7231: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (in some industries)
  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 7231: Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.9% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 59 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Journeyperson machinists wage rates vary but generally range from $28 to $34 an hour plus benefits (2019 estimates). Apprentices earn at least 55% of the journeyperson wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 65% in the second, 75% in the third and 85% in the fourth.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Machinists and machining and tooling inspectors

2016 NOC: 7231
Average Wage
$32.31
Per Hour
Average Salary
$67,602.00
Per Year
Average Hours
40.3
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 7231 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.50 $38.34 $26.65 $24.00
Overall $24.00 $40.00 $32.31 $32.80
Top $26.00 $48.50 $39.04 $39.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Health Care & Social Assistance
Manufacturing
ALL INDUSTRIES
Other Services (Repair, Personal Services and Related)

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
38%
38%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
56%
56%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
23%
23%
Vacancy Rate
5%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2020

Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2020. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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